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Report: Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa off of UFC 284

The UFC’s return to Australia has taken a hit. 

Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa is off—according to Costa, it was never even on.

Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported Monday that the fight has officially been removed from UFC 284, the upcoming pay-per-view scheduled for Feb. 11 at RAC Arena in Perth. The report came after Costa took to Twitter to respond to Whittaker, who told ‘Submission Radio’ that he signed his contract, despite Costa not signing his yet.

“Guys sending me this,” wrote Costa. “I feel sad for Robert because the UFC didn’t tell him the truth lol, you don’t deserve this. Bro, sorry I won’t fight you in Perth. UFC posting this [Whittaker vs. Costa] just to sell tickets, you need to realize that. They didn’t pay me, I’m out! I’m not joking.”

Since the UFC announced the fight, ‘Borrachinha’ has said publicly that it was not official, as he and the promotion continued to negotiate a potential new deal. He has one fight left on his current contract, but has refused to sign anything without a significant increase in pay.

If his recent comments are anything to go by, it appears as though the negotiations are not heading in the right direction.

“Great fights is going down due to lack of negotiation skills,” wrote Costa. “They should stop being petty. I wasn’t bluffing.

“I think they’re taking it the wrong way, making fighters unhappy with deals isn’t very smart,” wrote Costa. “It’s not only me, I remember: [Francis] Ngannou, [Sean] O’Malley, Mark Hunt, etc.”

Okamoto also reported that with Costa out, Whittaker might not remain on UFC 284.

Costa was entering the bout off a ‘Fight of the Night’ awarded appearance at UFC 278 in August. He defeated former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision.

Whittaker returned to the win column with a unanimous decision over Marvin Vettori in his most recent appearance. Prior to that, the ‘Reaper’ fell short to Israel Adesanya again.